Albert Gore Sr.

Albert Gore

The Albert Gore Research Center is the repository for the papers of Albert Gore Sr. from his time serving in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

The Albert Gore Sr. House of Representatives Papers measure approximately 12.5 linear feet of files created from the time of Gore’s election to the United States House of Representatives in 1938 until the end of his tenure in that body in 1952. The finding aid for the Albert Gore Sr. House of Representatives Papers may be found here.

The Albert Gore Sr. Senate Papers occupy approximately 900 linear feet of shelf space and were created from the time of Gore's election to the United States Senate in 1952 until the end of his tenure in that body in 1970. The greatest volume dates from 1962 through 1969. A large quantity of constituent and special interest correspondence documents various perceptions of major domestic and international issues of those years. Other communication elucidates the matters with which Senator Gore was most extensively involved, especially domestic and international trade and commerce, labor law, tax reform, transportation, medical care for older citizens, civil rights, and international relations. Books, pamphlets, and other research materials used by Gore and his staff have been retained. The finding aid for the Albert Gore Sr. Senate Papers may be found here.

The Gore Papers also include photographs, audio tapes, and videotapes, some from the Senator's papers. Other audiovisual materials have been acquired separately from the Gore Papers, but all audiovisual materials about Albert and Pauline Gore are catalogued together. The audiovisual materials finding aid may be found here.

Finally, through the years, the Albert Gore Research has acquired either through donation or purchase other historical manuscripts and memorabilia related to Albert Gore Sr. and Al Gore Jr. The finding aid to these materials may be found here.

 

The Life of  Albert Gore Sr.

Albert and Pauline Gore
Albert and Pauline Gore

Photograph from the Gore Papers

Albert Gore was born in Jackson County, Tennessee, on December 26, 1907. He began a career as a school teacher in rural Smith County, having worked his way through Middle Tennessee State Teachers College by teaching school, fiddling at barn dances, and pitching for a baseball team. At age 24, he entered politics, losing a race for Smith County Superintendent of Schools. Upon the death of the superintendent in 1932, Gore was appointed to complete the term. While serving as superintendent he studied law in Nashville. In 1936 he graduated from YMCA Law School and passed the state bar examination. In 1937, Governor Gordon Browning appointed him Tennessee's first Commissioner of Labor. That same year, Gore married Pauline LaFon of Jackson, Tennessee.

In 1938, Congressman Ridley Mitchell decided not to seek reelection from the Fourth Tennessee District. While a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Gore and his band played at a music festival in Washington. Listen to a recording here, courtesy of the Library of Congress. With this folksy appeal to ordinary Tennesseans, Gore's campaign was a success. He began in 1939 a thirty-two-year career representing Tennessee in Congress. He served fourteen years in the House of Representatives and eighteen years in the Senate. During one Senate race, his opponent labeled him "the cunning gray fox from Carthage." Gore liked the image and used it in future campaigns. In 1970, he lost his Senate seat in the wake of the Nixon-Agnew "Southern Strategy" to alienate Gore from his constituents and to win a Republican victory for William Brock III.

During his thirty-two years in Washington, Gore served on many major committees including Public Works, Public Roads Subcommittee (chair), Rules, the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections (chair), Foreign Relations, Finance, and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. He was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations, the U.S. Delegation to the Nuclear Weapons Test Conference, and a participant in fact finding missions to Africa, the Middle Test, the Far East, and Central and South America.

As co-author of the Highway Act of 1956, Gore promoted the creation of the nation's Interstate Highway System. He became a civil right proponent during the Eisenhower years and an advocate of racial justice. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he vigorously opposed the Vietnam War.

The Gores had two children: Nancy LaFon Gore (1938-1984) and Albert Gore, Jr. (b. 1948), who followed in his father's footsteps by representing Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate before serving two terms as Vice President of the United States. In 2001 Gore Jr. joined the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University as a visiting professor. He taught a course for several semesters on family and community building. He still lectures from time to time at MTSU.

After failing to win re-election to the Senate in 1970, Albert Gore Sr. served on the board of Occidental Petroleum and Island Creek Coal Company while also raising cattle and operating an antiques store in Carthage, Tennessee. He died on December 5, 1998, at age 90. Pauline Gore died on December 15, 2004, at age 92.

For more information about Albert and Pauline Gore, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Gore,_Sr. and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_LaFon_Gore. The most complete biography of Senator Gore to date is Kyle Longley, Senator Albert Gore, Sr.: Tennessee Maverick (2004).

Albert Gore, Sr., authored these books:

The Eye of the Storm: A People's Politics for the Seventies (1970)

Let the Glory Out: My South and Its Politics (1972)